No. 13 Kansas Rides Second-Half Surge to Defeat Pitt State, 84-55
Nov. 1, 2011
Withey Has Breakout Performance
- Coach Self Interview
- Player Interviews
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Five three-pointers from senior Conner Teahan and a triple-double from junior Jeff Withey ignited No. 13 Kansas to a win against Pittsburg State in the 2011-2012 season exhibition opener, Tuesday night, 84-55.
A sold-out Allen Fieldhouse crowd played witness to the Jayhawks’ 38th-straight exhibition game victory, dating back to the 1995 season. Head coach Bill Self moved to 24-0 in exhibition games at Kansas as the Jayhawks kept their unblemished 9-0 record versus Pittsburg State.
Kansas, who shot for nearly 50 percent in the opening half while holding the visiting PSU to just 29 percent accuracy, fought off a closely contested first half instead before outscoring the Gorillas 52-28 in the final 20 minutes.
Without the use of starters Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson, Kansas head coach Bill Self worked all of his available roster into the Tuesday night’s contest. Teahan’s 21 points led all scorers, while Withey’s 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks turned in the only triple-double of the evening – and of his career – had the game been a regular season contest.
Junior guard Travis Releford and freshman guard Naadir Tharpe churned out 14 and 12 points, respectively, to put four Jayhawks in double figures. All of the above would also have registered as career highs if Tuesday night’s matchup not been exhibition.
Teahan nailed a three just seconds after the Jayhawks won the opening tip, setting the tone for what looked to be an offensive outpouring from the Kansas lineup. The redshirt senior knocked down his first three shots from three-point land and finished the evening 5-of-8 from behind the three-point arc and an efficient 8-for-11 from the floor.
Powered by four returning starters from its 2010-11 squad, Pitt State was led by senior guard Drake Green and junior Nolen Marky’s nine points apiece and junior forward JaVon McGee’s 12 rebounds.
Just under the 15-minute mark, sophomore forward Justin Wesley was whistled for his second foul. The call sent Wesley to the bench for the majority of the opening half, but it was Pitt State that suffered from foul trouble. The Gorillas sent KU into the bonus with 12 minutes to play, a benefit the Jayhawks were not able to capitalize on, hitting just 3-of-8 from the line in the first frame and 19-for-37 on the night.
A three from junior Courtney Ingram and put-back layup off the hands of McGee shortened the Kansas lead, 19-15, bringing the Gorillas as close as they had been all evening to the Jayhawks. Another bucket from Ingram would cut the Kansas lead to two, seconds before the final media timeout. Tharpe responded with a pair of threes out of the timeout to help push the Jayhawks out to a 32-27 lead at the break.
Releford converted a three-point play to spark the Jayhawks in the early minutes of the second half. The starting point guard added to his eight first-half points with six more in the second, on a 55-percent shooting night. As a team, Kansas also outdid its first-half effort, shooting for a 65-percent mark in the second frame.
A quick strike to the basket resulted in a Tharpe layup, backing up Teahan’s fourth three-pointer of the game. The back-to-back effort handed Kansas the 46-35 advantage at the 13:35 mark – the Jayhawks’ first double-digit lead since jumping out to a 15-5 advantage in the game’s early minutes.
With a sizable lead in tow, Kansas took off. Consecutive dunks from Releford and Wesley brought the full house to its feet and stretched the lead, 62-46.
The Jayhawks would increase its lead to 15, then 20 and finally 25 for the remainder of the game. When Teahan connected for his fifth three ball of the night, Kansas was well-beyond reach nearing the final media timeout on its way to the comfortable 84-55 victory.
No. 13 Kansas continues exhibition play when it hosts Fort Hays State next Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Jayhawk TV and can also be seen on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access. KU will then host Towson on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. to open its 2011-12 regular season. Jayhawk TV and ESPN Full Court will broadcast the game, which is the first contest of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.